Marshall University is setting the standard for promoting physical activity on college campuses in West Virginia. The university earned gold-level recognition in the Exercise is Medicine on Campus program, a U.S.-based health initiative through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
In 2016, the ACSM will recognize over 50 colleges and universities around the world for participating in the program, with only a small percentage of schools receiving gold status.
Jennifer Pesarchick, program coordinator for Exercise is Medicine (EIM), said Marshall University will be recognized for this achievement June 1 during the World Congress on Exercise is Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting in Boston.
“Marshall has achieved gold-level recognition from Exercise is Medicine because of their outstanding efforts to make physical activity a standard on their campus,” Pesarchick said. “No matter what level of recognition is received, we are excited to see campuses promoting physical activity and the vision of EIM.”
Dr. Robert Powell, coordinator for Marshall’s Exercise is Medicine program, said there are many opportunities for departmental collaboration among the College of Health Professions, the School of Medicine, the Marshall Campus Recreation Center and other campus affiliates that seek to advocate for healthy living.
"We have already seen the impact of Exercise is Medicine on both students and our university community when it comes to emphasizing opportunities for physical activity on our campus," Powell said. "I am very proud of our exercise science students for their volunteer efforts and enthusiasm regarding the EIM mission. I look forward to seeing more involvement from various faculty, staff and students throughout Marshall."
Some of the programs and events that helped Marshall achieve this status included the campus community health fair, group fitness classes, activities sponsored through "Exercise is Medicine Week" and the services provided through Marshall’s physician referral-based diabetes and cardiopulmonary rehab clinic.
Heather Smith, senior assistant director of fitness programs and services at the Marshall Recreation Center, served as an organizer for the 2015 Exercise is Medicine program. Smith said earning recognition from a premier organization like the American College of Sports Medicine is a testament to how far the campus community has come in regard to living healthier lifestyles.
"We will continue to provide a wide range of programming opportunities to the campus community on an ongoing basis," Smith said. "Some of these include the Marshall Health fitness program, wellness workshops, personal training, the PEIA weight management program, our fitness challenge, the bike loan program, intramural sports and group fitness classes."
To learn more about Marshall’s Exercise is Medicine program, visit www.marshall.edu/EIM. For more information about the American College of Sports Medicine and its EIM-OC initiatives, visit www.acsm.org.
Photo: Marshall students Patrick Arnold (left) and Travis Donahoe led a community bike ride during the 2015 Exercise is Medicine Week. Photo by Lori Wolfe, The Herald-Dispatch.